Lifting of State of Emergency and back-pedalling on vaccination mandate are political ploys, UPP says

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

The Leadership and Executive of the United Progressive Party (UPP) notes the intention of the Cabinet to lift the State of Emergency before its scheduled expiration on December 27, 2021.

Like all citizens and residents, the Party welcomes this news, but considers it long overdue.

Like most citizens and residents, the UPP also views it as a political move – and not an economic or heath-related decision – by the Gaston Browne Administration.

The Prime Minister has spoken openly about early elections, and lifting the State of Emergency will allow him and his colleagues the freedom to campaign at a time when some voters might be persuaded that “things are looking up.”

However, the cost of living is rising dramatically, causing anxiety among the employed and unemployed alike; improvements in the economy are not likely to trickle down to the majority any time soon; and the Government cannot continue borrowing to keep pensioners, vendors, and service-providers afloat.

The UPP has long stated that the safety measures implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19 could have been achieved under the Public Health Act and without imposing the State of Emergency – and our position will now be borne out.

Meanwhile, we view the sudden changes to the Administration’s vaccination mandate in the same way:

They are a political response to the November 16 picket by parents and children who protested the barring of students from school compounds; the growing unrest of public-sector workers sent home without a penny; and the disaffection of the religious community which is feeling the sting of discrimination.

Accordingly, the Browne Administration has again resorted to adopting measures that are advocated by the United Progressive Party – but in its own interest and not that of the citizens and residents.

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